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Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses

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Volume 1

Politics of Repair

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Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough

Ethnographic Responses

Edited by Francisco Martínez and Patrick Laviolette

340 pages, 69 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-331-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-332-5 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“What I like about this book is its richness in ideas; it opens up a wide range of issues and associations, it invites the reader to see surprising linkages and new aspects of the seemingly trivial everyday. There is a lot of inspiration here for a number of research fields.” • Orvar Löfgren, University of Lund

“This is a very original, interesting and critical piece of work. It manages to bring the political in touch with the existential in an enlightening and, at moments, moving way.” • Paolo SH Favero, University of Antwerp


Exploring some of the ways in which repair practices and perceptions of brokenness vary culturally, Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough argues that repair is both a process and also a consequence which is sought out—an attempt to extend the life of things as well as an answer to failures, gaps, wrongdoings, and leftovers. This volume develops an open-ended combination of empirical and theoretical questions including: What does it mean to claim that something is broken? At what point is something broken repairable? What are the social relationships that take place around repair? And how much tolerance for failure do our societies have?

Francisco Martínez is a Lecturer in the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, and member of the editorial team of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. He has edited several books and is the author of Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia. An Anthropology of Repair, Forgetting and Urban Traces (UCL Press, 2018), which was awarded the Early Career Prize of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.

Patrick Laviolette is the co-editor of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures. With his work, he has developed an interdisciplinary understanding of material and visual-culture studies, as well as medical and environmental anthropology.

Subject: General Anthropology Sociology


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Insiders’ Manual to Breakdown
Francisco Martínez

     Head, Hand, Heart: On Contradiction, Contingency and Repair
     Caitlin DeSilvey

Chapter 1. Underwater, Still Life: Multi-species Engagements with the Art Abject of a Wasted American Warship
Joshua O. Reno

     Beyond the Sparkle Zones
     Kathleen Stewart

Chapter 2. “Till Death Do Us Part”: The Making of Home Through Holding onto Objects
Tomás Errázuriz

     “The Lady is Not There”: Repairing Tita Meme as a Telecare User
     Tomás Sánchez Criado

Chapter 3. In the House of Un-Things: Decay and Deferral in a Vacated Bulgarian Home
Martin Demant Frederiksen

     Undisciplined Surfaces
     Mateusz Laszczkowski

Chapter 4. A Ride on the Elevator. Infrastructures of Brokenness and Repair in Georgia
Tamta Khalvashi

     Don’t Fix the Puddle: A Puddle Archive as Ethnographic Account of Sidewalk Assemblages
     Mirja Busch and Ignacio Farías

Chapter 5. What is in a Hole? Voids out of Place and Politics below the State in Georgia
Francisco Martínez

     Maintaining Whose Road?
     Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi

Chapter 6. Dirtscapes: Contest over Value, Garbage and Belonging in Istanbul
Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe

     Repairing Russia
     Michał Murawski

Chapter 7. Village Vintage in Southern Norway: Revitalisation and Vernacular Entrepreneurship in Culture Heritage Tourism
Sarah Holst Kjær

     A Story of Time Keepers
     Jérôme Denis and David Pontille

Chapter 8. Keeping Them “Swiss”. The Transfer and Appropriation of Techniques for Luxury Watch Repair in Hong-Kong
Hervé Munz

     Lost Battles of De-bobbling
     Magdalena Crăciun

Chapter 9. Small Mutinies in the Comfortable Slot: The New Environmentalism as Repair
Eeva Berglund

     Why Stories About the Broken Down Snowmobiles Can Teach You A Lot About the Life in the Arctic Tundra
     Aimar Ventsel

Chapter 10. The Imperative of Repair: Fixing Bikes – For Free
Simon Batterbury and Tim Dant

     Repair and Responsibility: The Art of Doris Salcedo
     Siobhan Kattago

Chapter 11. Repair and (Re)creation: Broken Relationships and a Path Forward for Austrian Holocaust Survivors
Katja Seidel

     Living Switches
     Wladimir Sgibnev

Chapter 12. Brokenness and Normality in Design Culture
Adam Drazin

     And Then You See Yourself Disappear (in Iceland)
     Jason Pine

Epilogue: This Mess We’re In, Or Part Of
Patrick Laviolette


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